Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, September 22, 2021

It’s come to this, America: For the first time ever, the average household contains more TV sets (2.73) than people (2.55).

What’s most telling is that this stat pertains to the hardware — i.e., the actual TV set — rather than the software — television programming. In other words, just because there are more viewing screens in everyone’s cribs doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is watching more of the usual shows.

Not to overstate that perspective. I’d bet the vast majority of those multiple monitors are hooked up to the house satellite/cable feed, meaning that the dream of flitting from one room to the other while constantly tethered to the boob tube is finally realized. But I’m sure a few of those sets are dedicated to almost-exclusive purposes, like watching DVDs or playing the Xbox. In the latter scenario, having a videogaming screen near the TV-viewing one is probably a more common setup than most would think (I did that myself in the past, and likely will again).

This finding comes at a fluid time in the evolution of television/video media. Delivery of video content is fanning out to the Web, mobile phones, iPods and other devices. Again, this reinforces the question of just what all those extra sets are showing on their screens. Far from indicating the resilience of business-as-usual in the broadcast television biz, this should be considered a further example of the splintering of the viewer’s attention.

Related to that, I wonder how much this affects the credibility of traditional Nielsen ratings measurements — how can a program claim to have “captured” X percent of households, when it’s likely just one flickering image among many showing in those households at any given moment?

This news happens to come on the eve of my own purchase of an extra set — a nice LCD flatscreen — which will bring the total number in my household to… Two. Below average, but closer!

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/22/2006 03:09pm
Category: Society, TV, Tech
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Everyone’s daily java jolt is set to get slightly pricier. Starbucks announced today that it will raise prices on its brewed-up drinks by 5 cents per cup.

Naturally, this has far-reaching effects, from The Economist’s “Starbucks tall-latte index” to the perpetual hate-debate over paying more than a few cents for a cup o’ joe, total, to begin with. And let’s not forget the ammo this gives Dunkin’ Donuts, which is increasingly recasting itself as less a donut shop and more an anti-Starbucks coffeeteria.

More than anything, though, this paltry increase has already done its job: It’s provided yet another bit of buzz for the Seattle caffeine king. Think about it: What other retailer bothers to announce a price hike? This is a strategic PR move, and it’s paid off far more than that extra nickel ever will. Starbucks is keeping itself in the newsstream, keeping passions for and against it enflamed, and therefore keeping itself in business.

And yes, I’m sipping a Tall order of Tazo tea, bought at *$, as I type this. Just another junkie propping up the pusher…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/22/2006 02:32pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Food
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